Metatalktail Hour: Dreaming, perchance? June 11, 2022 1:58 AM   Subscribe

For this week's Metatalktails, I want to know: Have you ever dreamed something that seemed so real that you took X [waking life] action based on your belief that the dreamed thing actually happened?

I have dreamed (and believed!) that I took a medication when I didn't; that I bought / cooked / prepared / cleaned something when I didn't; that I told my husband about something when I didn't; that he has told me something specific when he didn't ... and so on. So far, only low-stakes consequences (not like writing an 8-page paper!), but sometimes I worry about the deceptive plausibility of my mundane dream experiences. (my dreams are not always mundane! but when they are, they are so convincing! how do I even know what is dreamstuff and what is real???)

Have you had weird, amusing, scary, or annoying dream/life crossovers? Other odd dream ecosystem experiences?
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 1:58 AM (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I have periodic sleepwalking incidents, usually tied into something that's happening in a dream. When I was a teenager I watched a French-language film about the the First World War at the cinema one evening, and that night woke up in a squat on the floor, having jumped out of my (top bunk!) bed thinking there was a bomb in it. Somehow I was completely unhurt.

Recently I was staying in London overnight, and I found myself in the corner of the hotel room wearing my raincoat. I'd dreamt that a London bus was about to come through the window of my (seventh-floor!) hotel room, and had "reasoned" that it would be inappropriate for me to be naked when that happened, so I'd got out of bed and put only my coat on. As I woke up a little further, I realised that putting on my coat was dumb, so I reached for a clean shirt. And while reaching for the clean shirt I woke up enough to realise that what was actually dumb was the idea that a London bus was about to drive through the window of my seventh-floor hotel room in the middle of the night.

By far the worst of those incidents was a couple of months ago, when something in my dream triggered me to get out of bed, but I'd somehow fallen asleep in a position that had caused both legs to go dead. So I immediately fell out of bed upon trying to sleepwalk, and couldn't get up until the blood returned to my legs (a brief but scary period during which I wondered if I'd lost the use of them). My partner came in when he heard the crash and found me very confused in a heap on the floor.

I also sleeptalk a lot, and seem capable of a moderate amount of reasoning in that state. One night last week, according to my partner, I sat bolt upright in bed and asked if he'd heard someone saying "get out". He said no and told me I must have heard it in my dream. I asked how he could be sure, he told me "because I'm awake and I didn't hear it", and apparently that was a satisfactory answer as far as my dream-reasoning was concerned, so I went back to sleep.

My dad once got up and started his getting-ready-for-work routine at 3am because he thought it was morning already, which I'm glad I've never done.
posted by terretu at 2:50 AM on June 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

How strange. Last night I dreamed that I'd somehow got into the bath while asleep and started the tap running (there's an airlock so it fills very slowly) and only woken up (in the dream) when the water ran cold. Although I was almost completely sure it was a dream, I did check to make sure there was hot water when I got up and I hadn't used it all up in the middle of the night.
posted by Grangousier at 4:01 AM on June 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

In the late 90's, some friends and I were engaged in a series of consciousness-hacking experiments (no drugs, things like meditation, breathing exercises, etc). The premise was that we were being controlled by aliens, and we were trying to break free of that control (that was the setup, I don't think we actually believed it). It was pretty intense, and we'd get together and debrief our experiences. About three months in, The Matrix came out. The day after I saw it, I had a dream that involved a bunch of things, but at the end I was offered two pills. One would wake me up, and the other would ensure I stayed asleep and dreaming.

I opted for the one that ensured I stayed asleep and dreaming. And at that very moment I woke up.

For about 10 minutes I was utterly confused, and then I started to panic. I couldn't tell whether I was asleep or not. I turned on the news to try and get grounded, and it was a review of The Matrix, which, needless to say, didn't help. I considered calling a colleague of mine to try and get some perspective, but rejected the idea for fear of his thinking that I was...mentally unwell.

For a few days after that, I felt alternately stoned and manic. Colors seemed off, I had a hard time focusing, and I'd have flashes of things seeming unreal, and then wonder if I was still dreaming.

I dropped out of the "experiment" after that.
posted by Gorgik at 8:05 AM on June 11, 2022 [20 favorites]

An ex used to wake up mad at me for things they dreamed I did. And then I would laugh at their anger, which rarely improved their mood, but I still think it was funny.
posted by surlyben at 8:45 AM on June 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

I had a very weird dream once that my family had come to visit me as a surprise, and they arrived while I was sleeping, and I could hear them moving around my house, but I couldn't get up to go see them because I couldn't move. And then I thought I woke up, but I still couldn't move, so I was kinda losing my shit because I couldn't move, and I could feel my heart racing and my breathing getting out of control. And then I thought I woke up and my breathing all seemed fine, but I still couldn't seem to move, and then eventually I could move, and I'm not sure if I woke up again, or if the time when I was awake for the second time I was actually awake but just couldn't convince my brain to send the orders to move or what. It was very, very freaky and there were too many levels of not understanding whether I was or wasn't sleeping or could or couldn't move.

Also, my family didn't come to visit me as a surprise, so that was pretty disappointing.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:08 AM on June 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

I once dreamed I heard a Johnny Cash cover of Beck’s Lost Cause (probably exacerbated by the knowledge Cash had done a cover of Gasoline) and I was so convinced it was real that I spent months scouring the internet looking for it.

I can still hear bits of it in my head sometimes.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:10 PM on June 11, 2022 [8 favorites]

Not exactly, but I did name my cat after a girl I observed acting up, in a dream. She was making a mess in a classroom or maybe it was an office, smearing Day-Glo chalk around. I got close enough to read her badge (since I'd already been working for NASA for almost a decade by this time, I was quite used to everybody around me wearing badges) and I didn't catch her first name but her family name was Morgenfrosch and I knew the Morgen was 'morning' but I had to consult my Deutsch dictionary to discover that this name meant Morning Frog so naturally I gave it to my new cat (Boris, who passed on in '97) as a family name.
posted by Rash at 2:36 PM on June 11, 2022 [11 favorites]

I once had an extremely vivid dream in which a friend of mine had a lengthy talk with me about how he was going to get liposuction, and I was trying to talk him out of it. I kept thinking about it all the next morning, and very nearly called my friend to say "I've thought of a few more reasons why you shouldn't," and had to actually remind myself that no, that didn't happen in real life and my friend was very likely going to be very confused.

Incidentally, that's also how I learned that I have some BONKERS side effects when I have Theraflu.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:08 PM on June 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

If I've ever thought while I was awake that a dreamed thing actually happened, it was so small and low-stakes that I can't even remember a specific incident now.

I have these recurring dreams of braking in my car but the brakes only very gradually work against the momentum of the car and it takes a long time to actually come to a stop or slow down significantly. I hate it because it always makes me feel incompetent as a driver, like I must be doing something wrong for that to happen. And I've had multiple dreams where it happens, and I think to myself, "So this does actually happen in real life and not just in my dreams!" I have never once thought, "Oh, this weird thing with the brakes is happening; it must be a dream," even though that would be an extremely reasonable realization to have, and it's not like I never have lucid dreams. I wish I could learn to use the weird brake thing as a lucid dream trigger and avoid the stress of those stupid dreams.
posted by Redstart at 3:12 PM on June 11, 2022 [6 favorites]

After I got back from spending a year in Germany, I regularly dreamt in German. Haven't for a very long time now, kinda miss it. But also towards the end the dreams were mostly about me not speaking it well anymore and struggling to be understood.
posted by one4themoment at 3:39 PM on June 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

I once dreamed of a long-eared turtle and I was so, so convinced it was a real animal. Yes, I know that turtles don't really have external ears. In the dream they weren't real ears, more like pronounced ridges that had earned it the common name of long-eared turtle. I searched through lists of species of turtles in an attempt to find it. I still feel like it should exist.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2022 [7 favorites]

I once dreamed I was a butterfly; when I woke up my pillow was a marshmallow.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2022

Does legal use of ketamine count?
posted by clavdivs at 5:50 PM on June 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Years ago when I was a teenage cashier, I had a dream that I was on the express lane. My coworker Stephanie was next to me. I had a customer who paid for their purchase in nickels and pennies. And my register started to grow bigger, and the numbers started changing places.

I went in to work the next day, remembering my dream clearly. They put me on express. Stephanie was working next to me. And I had a customer pay for their purchase in .... dimes and quarters.

I swore that if my register started to grow, I was outta there.
posted by annieb at 6:14 PM on June 11, 2022 [6 favorites]

This has never happened to me, and now I’m a bit sad!

The best dream/life crossover ever is the recurring dream I had between seven and nine in which I was reunited with my favorite stuffed tiger, lost on a trip to a friend’s summer home, and then one day, after countless disappointing reawakenings, it really happened. My neighbor poked his head up over the fence and said he had something for me, and I opened the box and there he was. I still have this tiger, and hugging him still gives me a quiet comfort.
posted by eirias at 6:32 PM on June 11, 2022 [16 favorites]

For several years, I frequently had a dream in which I was a smoker. Not in a big deal "oh no I fucked up" kind of way, just kind of matter-of-fact. The dreams weren't even primarily about the smoking, that was sort of a background detail. In my dreams I smoked Marlboro lights, which is not what I primarily smoked in my previous, waking life as a smoker. I had been off cigarettes for over 20 years when I started having these dreams. And I would wake up and think "did I start smoking again? Why would I do that after all this time?" and be kicking myself until I realized that it was a dream.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:55 PM on June 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

I had a dream once wherein I found a cat in my bed, or a catlike creature. I touched it and it bit me, and I woke up.
I got out of bed, turned on the light, and the bulb was burned out. I went into the bathroom, reached for the light switch, and the cat-thing, a dangerous monster, was waiting for me.
I woke up again. I turned on the light, and there was a moment of uncertainty. Maybe I hit the wrong switch or something.
Let's just say I hesitated for a long time before I went into the bathroom.

I once had a dream about someone I didn't like very much who is friends with a bunch of people I know. I had a pretty bad fight with this person, and when I woke up, it took me an hour, including checking facebook activity, to figure out that fight couldn't really have happened.

I had a few incidences of remembering something (usually a bit of conversation, but sometimes a visit somewhere) I thought had happened weeks, months, or years previously, only to ask someone about it who had been there and find they had no recollection of it, leaving me with no conclusion to draw but that I had dreamed the whole thing.

And not quite the same thing, but on a couple occasions, I spent a long time stuck on a difficult part of a video game, gave up and went to bed, dreamed a solution, and tried it on waking, and found that it worked.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:57 PM on June 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

I have a lot of weird stuff going on with dreams.

It doesn't happen so often any more, but I used to regularly wake up at night, but continue dreaming, and have a mixed experience of thinking dream stuff is really happening. Like waking my husband to tell him that the neighbours are backing their car in through our bedroom window. Or, when I get up, carefully walking around the big holes in the floor that aren't really there.

My husband is so used to it now that his default reaction on waking up to find me upset is to tell me it's just a dream.

I also have the most incredible lucid dreams. Each time it's different, but it usually involves flying, or swimming under the sea.
It's like the absolute best fantasy or Sci Fi movie or book, except I'm there and I can smell things and touch things.

For example, flying over a enormous glowing city that's floating on the sea. Diving down to surf the swell. Totally exhilarating.

Sometimes I can interrupt a nightmare by realising it's a dream and my reaction is always to fly because it's so much fun.

When I'm drifting off to sleep, I almost always go through a phase where I'm still conscious, but I see things in my mind's eye that I have no idea where they come from. It's like visual memories, but of things I've definitely not seen in real life.

Like for example, a live rabbit made of blue and white delft china, wearing a crocheted top and impatiently smoking a cigarette. Or tall skinny paper people with sticky boots. Sometimes when I hear sounds when I'm in this state, I can see them.
An ambulance siren looks like a glowing, undulating line, and some music looks like blocks.

Maybe related, I've discovered that I have a very strong ability to conjure up an imaginary reality when I'm awake and "sending myself" to different place. It has been incredibly useful for dealing with my anxiety and insomnia.

The first time I realised I could do this was when I was lying and waiting for my hysterectomy. I was not drugged yet, and I'd been wheeled to the room where the surgery was supposed to happen, but there was some kind of delay and I had to lie there waiting for about an hour.

I was quite scared. But I decided to deal with it by going for an imaginary walk in the woods around Rivendell. I managed to conjure up the sound of the wind in the trees, and the feel and scent of leaf mold underfoot, and what it would be like wading in a small stream.

Utterly took me away from the hospital.

I've never done any drugs, not even weed. I don't drink alcohol or caffeine. I have just started eating a lot of dark chocolate, though as it makes me feel good. I recently started taking an SSRI so my normal dreams have gotten even more vivid.

I also recently started waking up with a phrase in my mind. The most recent one was "You could have a non disclosure agreement with a horse"

Thanks for asking this question as I hardly ever get to talk about my dreams. I don't actually know how usual my experience is as people seem to find dream talk so boring so I never get to ask about it.
posted by Zumbador at 9:29 PM on June 11, 2022 [10 favorites]

In the past 20 years or so in this house, we've always had a few indoor cats. As few as 1, as many as 3. But for a long time I was plagued by dreams where many more cats would literally crawl out of the woodwork and demand their due. I would wake up wondering if we could feed them all. I'm happy that I haven't those dreams in a while.
posted by mollweide at 9:40 PM on June 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Well, when I was strung out and behind on a bunch of things I'd sometimes dream I'd paid some bill so took that off the TODO list, or got some bit of information and then start my day with a will to act on that, always classic "wish fulfillment" dream stuff or put-me-out-of-my-misery dream stuff, with a paradigm going on where nothing is planned and everything is reactionary in my day to day. Stopped being a thing when I wasn't all fucked up and winging it.
posted by etc passwd at 11:16 PM on June 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have terrible sleep hygiene -- night owl with inconsistent sleep times and lengths and a very irregular schedule. Perversely, when I try to go to sleep at a decent-ish hour, I often get these weird... night terrors? Hynagogia? Basically I'll sleep really lightly for 15-20 minutes -- often with a dream, which is unusual -- then wake up with the strong impression that there's something in the room -- a floating object, a big spider on the wall, a tower of boxes falling over. It's usually vivid enough that I'll reach over and turn on the table light, or even jump clear out of bed. It doesn't happen every night, maybe once or twice a month. I've done the Dr. Google thing and in my unexpert opinion it could be anxiety, narcolepsy, CO2 build-up in a closed room, a rare neurological disorder that leads to Certain Death, or... garden-variety lack of consistent sleep. I should probably get a sleep study done, but I'm just... too... tired... 😴
posted by Rhaomi at 12:04 AM on June 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

I have no sense of smell. Zero. (from a concussion when I was 5) I don't know what a skunk smells like.
One night, recently, I dreamed that there were skunks in my front yard. I was curious, so, yes, I got up and looked outside and there was a skunk family in my front yard! Have never seen skunks around here before or since. So, very uncommon occurrence.

When I was in high school - I had a dream that a classmate told me she picked psilocybin mushrooms and tripped on them over the weekend. She was the very last person I would think would do this. Very conservative and a cheerleader! So I was stunned when on Monday she sat down beside me in science class and started telling me that she visited her father in Seattle over the weekend and that she went out mushroom picking and found psilocybin mushrooms and got high! Blew my mind.
posted by cda at 8:33 AM on June 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

I also recently started waking up with a phrase in my mind.

I finally joined Twitter a couple of years ago with the intent of just posting jokes and silly stuff. At first I used the backlog of funny comments I'd been making here on Metafilter over the years; after that ran out I had to start coming up with new material, and that was when I began to sometimes wake up with a joke or at least the seed of a joke in my head. Somehow when I was asleep and dreaming it would pop up and - this is the amazing part, to me - stay in my memory the rest of the night until I woke up next morning and wrote it down. A few didn't hold up in the harsh light of day even though they'd been funny to my sleep brain, but I've been able to use most of them.

One example: "My uncle was in a crash with a tanker truck full of that's him finished."


I used to have flying dreams when I was young, but they stopped in my early 20's and I don't think I've had one since. Not happy about that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:36 AM on June 12, 2022 [7 favorites]

Whenever I am immersed in a bookworld and have to leave it for the everydayworld, the dreamlike sleepwalking disconnect presents itself. I find it difficult to leave the bookworld behind.

I live with the characters in my present-mind-tense and we navigate the everydayworld together.

Some dreams are akin to bookworld; similarly,
songs become everpresent earworms. I co-inhabit my days with these once they catch me....
posted by mightshould at 1:11 PM on June 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

I graduated from High School in June 1963. I spent the summer at the lake, swimming, lying on a towel with my head in my sweetheart's lap. By September, most of my friends had started college or junior college. I didn't want to do that, but I had no particular ambitions about a career. So I joined the Army, Airborne unassigned. I wanted to jump out of airplanes and stuff. My best friend joined me. I would not turn eighteen until November, so my mother sighed and signed for me.

Jim and I left for basic training (at Ford Ord, California) a week later. We got off the troop bus around midnight, and they put us into a barracks. At 0430 a stocky little sergeant wearing a black helmet liner and spit-shined boots came through the barracks, banging on the foot of our bunks with his clipboard and yelling at us at the top of his lungs. Thus began the calmest, most serene moment of the next five days. The next day we got inoculated--they used air guns in those days. The shots left us groggy. Clerks in white T-shirts issued fatigues (the green ones) but not boots. We went from station to station, building to building, doing things I truly don't remember. We had not yet learned to march in formation, so they herded us about, like they were cowboys herding cattle. Lack of sleep and those goddam shots covered everything with a surreal blanket. Go here. Stop here. Wait here. Walk on the white line to the next station. No talking. Stand up. Sit down. You are not on the fucking block anymore, hero. You little green monsters walk like a herd of turkeys. On the third day, we had to mark time while some schedule or another cycled around to our batch of little green monsters, as that little sergeant bastard liked to call us.

Jim and I were handed plastic garbage bags and told to walk down Inter-garrison road, pick up anything that wasn't a stick, rocks, or grass, and put it in the bag. Then, we were to wait at the MP hut at the Inter-garrison gate for the truck to pick us up. So we did that.

Even though we both were still groggy from the vaccinations and lack of sleep, this walk was great. We enjoyed coastal greenery on both sides of the road. Nobody yelled at us, and we were more intelligent than most of the litter we picked up; instead, as that little bastard sergeant kept telling us, dumber than a bag of fucking hammers. Finally, we arrived, and the gate reported to the MPs, who told us we could wait on the sandy bank of the road across from the shack. We sat in the shade of a tall manzanita, lay back, and fell asleep. The dream I had was a recreation of being at the lake, the warm sun on my face, the unique aroma of lake water, and Corliss running her hands in my hair. I was there! "I dreamed I joined the Army," I told her. We both laughed. "That's just silly," she said, leaning forward to kiss me.

I awoke when the pickup truck driver kicked me on the bottom of my feet and yelled at me to get my lazy ass up and get on the truck. I was not fully awake. My mind was fogged by the lack of sleep and the shots. I felt the dream slipping away. Jim and a few other inductees were already in the truck. I had a moment of confusion, trying to sort all this out. I looked out the back of the truck. This couldn't be happening.

"Am I dreaming?" I asked Jim.

"Oh, hell, I hope so," he said.
posted by mule98J at 3:49 PM on June 12, 2022 [9 favorites]

Oh, I just remembered, and I don't know whether it counts:

Exactly half-way through my time at Art School (where I was suffering because I had no idea what to do, and the staff weren't exactly helpful), I went through a phase of just dreaming. I mean, I went to bed one day and had a series of intense dreams that I remembered very clearly after waking up. I wrote them down and went back to sleep and had another set of dreams, which I wrote down. I started drawing scenes from these dreams. And then going back to sleep. I was sleeping most of the time with short periods of getting up and drawing or eating and then back to sleep again. After about a week of being awake for about four hours a day I had enough material to keep me going for the rest of the course.

When your unconscious decides to take over it really doesn't mess around.

The odd thing is that details of the dreams seem to relate to things that happened in my life much later. Obviously this is something that's more about the interpretation than anything uncanny, but the dreams did affect the way I related to my life for a very long time - up to 21 years.
posted by Grangousier at 4:25 PM on June 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

I still have unpleasant dreams about a job I had for 17 years, during stressful single parenting, and sleep disorder that went along with lack of sleep. For a while my oxygen sats were at 70, which is close to lethal. But I used to "dream" with a group of friends and we swam in underground rivers, in Southern Utah. We were part of the water, this was not with breathing gear, this was more like being water nymphs. I don't know that my friends knew they were swimming in my dreams.
posted by Oyéah at 7:25 PM on June 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

When I was about 30, I dreamt that I got a call that my mother had died. I'm pretty sure that in the dream I said "OK" and rolled over to go back to sleep. Anyway, morning comes and I'm putting together a checklist of all the things I need to do - get a plane ticket home, notify work, etc. Luckily I didn't send any emails before I got in the shower. It all started to unravel after I realized I should call my sister, and then started wondering if the person who called me in the night had also called her. But who had called me? I started trying to puzzle it out, thinking did they give their name, what exactly did they say, and it dawned on me that I couldn't remember any details of the call, only that my mother was dead. It was one of those things that probably didn't last more than a few minutes, but it felt like forever.
posted by five toed sloth at 10:17 PM on June 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

Exactly half-way through my time at Art School (where I was suffering because I had no idea what to do, and the staff weren't exactly helpful),

My exact experience of studying art. OMG.
posted by Zumbador at 10:25 PM on June 12, 2022

Yesterday I was returning from the airport and drove by a mall I used to frequent as a pre-teen. I reminisced about the buses I had to take to get there, and how convoluted and scary the ride was, then realized I was remembering a dream about said bus ride.
I can't remember how I actually got to the mall, so the dream bus overwrote the actual buses I must have taken.
posted by signal at 5:44 AM on June 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

As a kid, around five years old, I very often had dreams that I could fly, in the dumbest possible way, by flapping my hands like bird wings. I have a very clear memory of spending hours in the back yard trying very hard to fly, unsure if it was a dream or memory. It didn't work, so I concluded it was a dream.

Two weeks ago I woke up panicked that I'd sent someone a series of very explicitly erotic text messages in the middle of the night. I jumped out of bed to send an apology, and was surprised and relieved to discover that it was a dream. It wouldn't have been entirely inappropriate in this case, but it's still radically unlike the way I've ever communicated with anybody and a very strange and rude thing to do at 3:30 AM on a weekday. In some ways, that makes it worse; "sorry, that was meant for someone else," isn't the conversation ender it would be for most of my friends. "I don't remember sending this, must have been the ketamine," is also implausible and likely to lead to follow-up questions. I'm a little sad to discover that years of long distance relationships have turned my teenage sex dreams into old man sexting dreams. But, it was a relief to learn that I'm not actually as much of an asshole as I apparently am in my dreams.
posted by eotvos at 6:05 AM on June 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I dreamed that my (then closest) cousin had died -- news of the death, funeral, and all. I woke up convinced and in grief, and it was only when I came fully enough awake to realize that her deceased brother had called me with the news that I started to think it all through.

I was so shaken I resisted going back to sleep because I could feel the dream reality waiting to suck me back in again.
posted by jaruwaan at 9:43 AM on June 13, 2022

This is a bit of a tangent because I did not believe the dream was real upon waking but it did lead to a change in my behavior.

I write a lot of letters and cards. About five years ago I had a dream about sending all of my Christmas cards but immediately after dropping them in the mailbox realizing it was August and also that as the valediction on all of them I had written “Contemplate this on the tree of woe” (from Conan the Barbarian). I spent to rest of the dream in a panic trying to get the mailbox open so I could take the cards back.

I knew it was a dream immediately upon waking but I have been using “Contemplate this on the tree of woe” as the valediction on all of my non-holiday cards and letters since then.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:48 AM on June 13, 2022 [9 favorites]

Merry Cromsmas!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:55 PM on June 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

do you wanna jingle forever
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:44 PM on June 13, 2022

I'm not sure if this fits, but the night before last (a Sunday night) I slept terribly. I woke up repeatedly. I have distinct memories of doing this. I also have distinct, vivid memories of getting up and going downstairs because I couldn't sleep, and lying down on the sofa and watching crap movies on cable until it was time to get up and go to work.

I only realized, in the shower, that many, if not most of those things that I distinctly remember were things I had dreamed. Mrs. Ghidorah, when I mentioned it to her after work, said I was snoring much worse than usual, and seemed to be sleeping fine.

I can't remember ever feeling less rested after getting out of bed, and that's having struggled with insomnia for years. My dreams seem to have turned against me.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:49 PM on June 13, 2022

Not sure if this is quite in the scope of the question, as it didn’t really involve a conscious course of action post-dream, but some fifteen years ago I had to be up at something like 5:00 a.m. to head to the airport to catch an early flight. I didn’t have an alarm clock and I was not 100% sure the alarm on my cell phone would wake me. I did have a landline which was plenty loud, but not many people are awake at that hour to give me a call.

My mother, however, is a longtime early-to-bed-early-to-rise type, and she confirmed she’d be awake at five to call me. I asked her to do so.

The following morning I heard my landline ring. I answered it groggily and saw it was 5:01 a.m. My mother’s voice said, “Hey, I want you to listen to something.” I listened closely but could hear nothing. I thought maybe I was supposed to be listening for the purr of her notoriously loud cat Bart, but no, nothing at all.

After a few seconds, I thought, this is weird. Maybe I am still dreaming? I must be. At that moment I woke up for real, saw it was 4:58. Ninety seconds later, my landline rang: it was, of course, my mom.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:13 PM on June 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

I once dreamed that the events of a popular fantasy series were real and had happened to me and my high school classmates, and we'd all been given false memories of having gone to high school in Los Angeles instead of to the wizard boarding school where we'd actually gone. Then one of our teachers had written a heavily fictionalized account of the true events that had happened to my class and had got very rich off it. But our being constantly exposed to this account, which had gotten a lot more popular than our teacher had anticipated, had fucked up the memory spell and our memories were coming back in bits and pieces, and in the dream we had gotten a bunch of us together and were all trying to figure out what had actually happened, what was real, who had been fictionalized as which character, etc.

I woke up dead certain that Hermione Granger was a character based largely on me and my experiences, and it took me hours to convince myself I was me and not her. It was such a mindfuck. Even now, probably fifteen years later I sometimes think maybe that dream was true. It felt so real.
posted by potrzebie at 10:06 PM on June 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

That would make a great (modified so as not to infringe on an existing work, of course) movie!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:00 AM on June 15, 2022

During a dream last night, the phrase "Palantir repair" made its way into my consciousness, leading to this bit of silliness today:

ONE STONE TO SEE THEM ALL Palantir Service and Repair
Restore long-lost bandwidth!
Scratches - chips - cracks our specialty!
Down-to-Middle-Earth pricing
Discreet in-Tower service by appointment
"We're in the Yellow Scrolls under 'Palantirs'"
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:27 AM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

At that moment I woke up for real, saw it was 4:58. Ninety seconds later, my landline rang: it was, of course, my mom.

One thing that it was a shock for me to realise (after many occasions where I woke up just before the alarm, when I really needed to get up) is that a) there's a part of me that's awake even when I'm asleep and b) it knows what the time is.
posted by Grangousier at 3:17 PM on June 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

I do this all the time. On weekends I might set an alarm for 1PM but will hit snooze repeatedly because what I'm dreaming is always way more interesting than what I'd be doing awake. First of all it's really vivid and I also have friends, lovers and *people* around. The interactions with them are usually pretty mundane but still richer than my own life.

A recent example: A couple years ago I was locked out of my building very late on a cold night and after that stashed a spare key on the back porch. Recently I noticed that the key was gone and dreamed an encounter with a tenant in my building where we had a conversation about the key something like:

aTenant: otherTenant mentioned that she took your key because she didn't know who it belonged to and didn't want it out in the open
me: thanks for letting me know, next time I see her I'll ask her

And then I woke up and for a couple days couldn't figure out if I'd actually had this conversation. Next time I see otherTenant should I ask her about it? Next time I bump into aTenant do I mention this?

Second example: I usually fall asleep to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force marathon on the Adult Swim app (it plays all night) and I know all the episodes by heart. I've had hundreds of dreams of being in groups of people who are recreating a conversation from the episode - a code school class was reciting the Super Trivia episode and I woke up super excited that they knew all the lines and looked forward to swapping in-jokes with them.
posted by bendy at 7:55 PM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Re:waking up on time. I used to have the ability to set a wake up time right before going to sleep. I'd look at a watch and think "7:45", and I'd wake up the next morning at 7:45.
I lost this when I finished architecture school and spent a few years freelancing and waking up whenever.
posted by signal at 4:39 AM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Now I have a cat that wakes me up an hour early each morning.
posted by signal at 5:08 AM on June 16, 2022

I got up, brushed my teeth and shaved. THEN I WOKE UP! I had dreamed my morning bathroom ritual. THEN I HAD TO GET UP AND DO IT AGAIN!
posted by SPrintF at 4:04 PM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

catch Richard Linklater's Waking Life
I'm really not trying to yuck other people's yum. . . but, I don't think any film - including hundreds of student films about cheesy lost love and suicides and many hour long meditations on reeds blowing in the wind - has ever made me more annoyed or angry at the filmmaker for wasting my time. People I love and respect genuinely like it. Enjoy it if you do. If you don't enjoy it, enjoy turning it off.
posted by eotvos at 4:31 PM on June 16, 2022

One thing that it was a shock for me to realise (after many occasions where I woke up just before the alarm, when I really needed to get up) is that a) there's a part of me that's awake even when I'm asleep and b) it knows what the time is.

Likewise. When I do have to set an alarm, I reckon that some ninety percent of the time I wake up before it goes off: anywhere from three minutes before to... inconveniently more than three minutes (you know, two hours and the like). It was just the curious circumstance of getting the wake-up call I requested from my subconscious before the real world provided one.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:27 PM on June 16, 2022

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